U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling nearly 180 points, after the Eurogroup meeting ended with no resolution on Greece’s debt crisis, sparking concerns as Athens' bailout program expires in six days. All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 closed lower, driven by declines in industrials and healthcare.
The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 178 points, or 0.98 percent, to close at 17,966.07. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) lost 15.62 points, or 0.74 percent, to end at 2,108.58. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 37.68 points, or 0.73 percent, to finish at 5,122.41.
Dow components DuPont Co. (NYSE:DD) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) were among the biggest laggards in the blue-chip index Wednesday, both losing 3 percent. Tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the largest gainer in the index, up 1 percent.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average dropped nearly 2 percent, due to sharp declines in railway stocks, including a 3 percent decline from J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT).
However, the Nasdaq hit an intraday record high of 5,164.36 in morning trading Wednesday, the fourth time in the last five trading sessions.
U.S. stocks added to losses in the last hour of trading Wednesday on news the Eurogroup meeting concluded with no Greek deal, reviving concerns that a "Grexit” could ensue where Athens will default and leave the eurozone. Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb announced Wednesday Eurogroup ministers will reconvene Thursday at 7 a.m. EDT.
"The institutions are going to continue conversations with Greek authorities to reach an agreement by tomorrow morning to present to the Eurogroup," European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters, according to Reuters.
The news comes after international creditors rejected the latest reform proposals from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Creditors have submitted counterproposals for Athens, Reuters reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
The summit of European Union leaders on Thursday and Friday could be one of the last chances for Greece to reach a deal before the government must repay 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund on June 30.
Market professionals are looking ahead to Thursday’s economic calendar, with weekly jobless claims, or the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment, due out at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment as initial claims fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 for the week ending June 13, the U.S. Labor Department said last week.
Economists forecast that jobless claims last week rose by 5,000 to 272,000 for the week ended June 20, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.